Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I Wear A Badge: Christiana Stark, Chi Omega

Christiana Stark (bottom left) at a Make-A-Wish event
Christiana Stark is no stranger to a challenge.

When she was 10 years old, she faced a life-altering diagnosis for which her doctor could find no cure. Feeling frustrated, confused and alone, Christiana eventually confided in her doctor, who listened to all her concerns and provided her with support to improve her quality of life. Thankfully, Christiana outgrew her illness, but the experience had a lasting impact on her life. She realized how fortunate she was to have a doctor who provided individualized support while guiding her family through a stressful situation.

Inspired by her own childhood illness, Christiana attended the University of California-San Diego to study molecular biology and excelled both in and out of the classroom. She was involved in several extracurricular activities, including Chi Omega Fraternity. In fact, her experience as a Panhellenic woman helped her learn the value of community. “As I move on to medical school I hope to find a [similar] community of students… to work together to accomplish philanthropic endeavors that we find meaningful both in and outside of a hospital, and to be there to support each other through the challenges ahead.”

Through Chi Omega, Christiana discovered her love of volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She was moved by the impact she could make without treating children medically and just providing them with a carefree day. “The fear and frustration I felt from facing a disease with no cure drives me to do everything in my power to alleviate that kind of distress for someone else.” She values charitable giving because it helps give her life meaning and plans to continue volunteering in the future.

Christiana hopes to become a doctor focused on the same individualized support for patients and families as she experienced. “As a doctor I will not be able to fix every ailment or answer every question that arises in the medical field, but I am determined to spend my career supporting others through the demanding physical and mental challenges life can bring.”

Christiana credits the support she received from her sisterhood for motivating her to pursue a medical degree at Southern Illinois University. The Mary Louise Roller Graduate Scholarship she received from the NPC Foundation this year will help her accomplish her goals. “This scholarship means so much to me because it shows me that there are so many women out there who believe in me and my goal. It is reassuring to know that I have the support of so many women who have faith that I can accomplish this and go on to help so many people as a doctor.”

Congratulations, Christiana!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Message From the Chairman: Foundations -- Supporting Our Members

The month of July affords each of us the opportunity to reflect upon liberty, country and the inherited tradition of voluntary service and giving, evidenced in the early chronicles of those who drafted the United States Constitution. Although the practice of philanthropy is worldwide, our country relies more extensively on voluntary associations to perform this act than any society in the history of the world.  

More than half of all Americans 18 and over volunteer an average of 2.5 hours a week, equating to almost one hundred million people donating services. Americans are estimated to donate approximately $125 billion per year to charitable causes through roughly 983,000 tax-exempt associations (Payton Papers 2000).

This July, we salute and recognize the philanthropic spirit and work of the 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) member organizations and the NPC Foundation. In 2014-15 the 26 NPC organizations provided roughly 2,900,000 hours of volunteer service to their communities and raised $34,880,415 combined donor dollars for a host of charitable causes. To name just a few: CASA, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Alzheimer's Foundation, American Heart Association, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity.  

In addition, those same organizations' foundations grant countless dollars in scholarships to deserving women, both undergraduate and graduate, and provide critical educational program funding for our organizations. 

NPC, just as the 26 member organizations, benefits from the support of a foundation: the NPC Foundation. NPC Foundation President Janet Brown, Alpha Omicron Pi, highlights the work of the Foundation.

"The mission of the NPC Foundation is to advance our organizations and their commitment to personal growth by supporting initiatives that launch and sustain women leaders. Our vision is that every Panhellenic woman will be a better citizen because of her lifelong sorority experience.

"To achieve these goals, the NPC Foundation supports programs that bring Panhellenic women together to develop skills, brainstorm ideas and implement solutions to challenges through the power of collective action, thus strengthening the impact of the sorority experience for everyone.

"For example, in the past year the NPC Foundation has supported: a highly successful College Panhellenic Academy providing valuable training and collaboration for leaders from 94 College Panhellenics; "Something of Value" facilitated on 12 campuses, identifying high-risk behaviors affecting member safety and well-being and developing action plans to address them; creation of topical educational videos; and scholarships to support outstanding Panhellenic women.

"We are grateful for the generosity of our organizations and their members who allow us to launch and sustain women leaders through the sorority experience!" 

Together, sorority women worldwide celebrate the spirit of philanthropic service and giving through the work of vital and vibrant foundations. NPC salutes the generosity and selfless donation of time and talent given by NPC women, and the tireless work of the foundations they support. Thank you.


Donna C. King

Chairman 2015-17